Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy New Year


So… where was I when I last posted? Oh yea, smack dab in the middle of the worst year ever! 2016 brought an unrelenting onslaught of tragedies, disasters, shootings, bombings, protests, iconic celebrity passings, and “unpresidented”* political farce. Some of you are also aware of the sadness that befell our family last April, with the tragic death of my brother, Carl. Losing him was heartbreaking, and nine months later, I’m still struggling with grief.

My doctor tells me it takes a good year to process the loss of a loved one. I’m fortunate that friends have weathered the journey with me, holding me close, mopping my tears, and listening, without judgment when I rant and blather on and on about it. They’ve supported me with patience and love and coffee and chocolate, but lately, I’ve noticed them nudging me back to reality.

Whenever I see my friend, Kathy, she asks if I’ve written a new blog post. Linda even gave me an ultimatum; "No new quilt photos until you start blogging again." I guess Persnickety Quilts is a pretty accurate barometer of my ups and downs. No posts mean bad news; but when I’m feeling better, I manage to concentrate, focus and muster up a few words. Hopefully, I'll be able to stick with it.

Intensive fabric therapy has been a big part of my recovery. Linda dug through piles of never started/never finished quilt projects in hopes that something would spark my interest. This one did, even though it was nothing more than a baggie of precut plaids. Do you remember the heyday of woven plaids from the mid 1990’s? Kathie Holland sent me the kit just about that long ago.


Wanda Hanson sewed it all up for me and doubled the size of the quilt by adding plaids from her own collection. It's now a generous table-topper size. Look at the beautiful backing and striped binding Wanda used. My favorite color!

Exquisite, 18" x 27"

A reader once described what I do now as “quilting by proxy” and hoped it brought me satisfaction. This time around, it's revived my creative spirit. Thank you!


*Donald Trumpism, misspelling the word “unprecedented” as “unpresidented.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

Let the Sunshine In!



After a week of glorious sunshine, it's warm enough to throw the windows open and let the fresh air in.  


That’s the first thing my friend Terri does each time she visits ~ opens curtains, blinds and doors to brighten my outlook on things.

I'm grinning like a Cheshire cat to have sunshine on my face and birdsong floating in with the breeze! 


Terri always brings lunch and this time, flowers too.  Set on a simple nine patch quilt, they will give me something pretty to enjoy all week!


Even a humble quilt like this one sparkles when the sun hits it just right. 

Thanks Terri, for a wonderful visit. You are always a breath of fresh air. 

Happy Spring!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lincoln Memorial


Today is Presidents' Day in the USA and a good opportunity to share this tiny tribute to Abraham Lincoln. My friend Barb made it for my February birthday a couple years ago. Barb’s love of history and collecting Americana has inspired her to make several quilts featuring U.S. presidents.


It's a miniature medallion quilt, about 8"x10", with a portrait of Lincoln in the center. The three frames surrounding Abe couldn't be simpler, but because of Barb's savvy fabric choices, they add richness and texture to the piece.


I wonder if Barb had Ford’s Theatre in mind when she selected fabrics for each border or was it coincidence how closely they resemble the infamous scene of Lincoln’s assassination?


From the rich red carpet and brocade upholstery of the seating...

to the heavy swag draperies of the Presidential Box.


Incidentally, there's a connection between Mary Todd Lincoln and our little community of Batavia, Illinois. Ten years after her husband's assassination, she was deemed mentally unstable and committed to Bellevue Place, a rest home and sanitarium just blocks from my house.  Her stay was brief, a mere four months, but long enough for Mrs. Lincoln to earn a prominent spot in local lore.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Spiritual Gift


“If you are a craftsman…only look at your tools, your needle, your thimble…your scales, your measures, and you will find this saying written on them… ‘My dear, use me toward your neighbor, as you would want him to act towards you with that which is his.”              Martin Luther

When our family first joined Rejoice Lutheran Church, new members were encouraged to assess their spiritual gifts and apply them in service to the congregation. As a quilt maker, it wasn’t surprising that liturgical art was my forte. For several years, I put my sewing skills to work making banners for worship.

That was long ago, and my days of “making” are over. Nevertheless, I've felt a persistent calling to contribute one more banner to Rejoice. And why not? Just because I can’t make things, doesn’t mean I can’t make things happen!

My friend Wanda Hanson is a remarkable quilt artist, a genius with color and design, who blends fabrics from her palette of thousands into extraordinary one of a kind pieces. After seeing Wanda's latest series of colorwash quilts, I knew they'd be perfect for Rejoice!

The first time I approached Wanda about making a banner she declined. But at some point, my "calling" became her "calling" too. Eventually, she looked on the project as a personal challenge and an opportunity to share her God given talents with others.

The Creation story became our theme ~ both the scriptural version:

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw the light, and it was good.  Genesis 1:3-4  


as well as the scientific explanation for the origin of the universe ~ Bible meets Big Bang!
Wanda cut, arranged and sewed hundreds of luminous batiks, 356 3"x 6” rectangles to be exact, each a different color and print, to create “Let there be Light”


Wanda with the 69" x 93” banner

What better backdrop for worship could there be than this glorious riot of color, representing the Holy Spirit at work inside us all?



double click to enlarge

Visit Wanda's blog, Exuberant Color.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Reality Check!


It’s been a long, lazy, uneventful summer… I’ve been sleeping a lot, reading too little, not writing at all, and taking way too much comfort in my own complacency. MS will do that to you when you start to think, “Is this as good as things are gonna get?”

I forgot that MS can still pull the rug out from under me at a moment’s notice, which it did a couple weeks ago. I haven’t had an exacerbation in years, so didn’t recognize the signs (severe pain in hands, wrists and arms) until my left hand (my only functional appendage) suddenly stopped working. That got my attention!

Three days in the hospital on IV steroids has restored function to my left hand. I can scratch my nose now, give a feeble wave, feed myself finger foods, type o-n-e  l-e-t-t-e-r  a-t  a  t-i-m-e with a pointing device on my computer, use the TV remote, and even hold a cup of coffee, if I’m lucky enough to get one. 

I've been assigned a series of challenging hand exercises to practice daily. Hopefully they’ll make me strong enough to erase “complacency” from my vocabulary and live each day with more purpose and intention. 


Friday, June 19, 2015

A Perfect Cup of Coffee



I love a good cup of coffee. Brew it strong. Serve it in my favorite mug with a splash of milk and a spoonful of sugar. I’m happy. 

What could possibly make it more pleasing? How about a colorful Mug Mat? It’s like a “pick me up” for my morning “pick me up.”


My friend Mary made mine from a vibrant array of half inch squares, tiny little pieces, almost too small to use. Isn’t it fun? Thanks, Mary. I'll raise my mug to you each time I use it!

Monday, April 20, 2015

What Goes Around, Comes Around



I’ve reached an age where the only thing I want for my birthday is not to be reminded of it, unless, of course, it’s with a birthday quilt from Barb. For that, I’ll admit to each and every one of my 59 years.

Imagine my surprise, when I opened Barb’s package this year, and found a block I’d given her for her birthday a few years back. “Wait... What?” It took me a minute to process that the block was now beautifully finished and back in my hands.


The pattern is from Applique with Folded Cutwork by Anita ShackelfordBarb echo quilted it by machine, with silk thread in the traditional style of Hawaiian quilting. Such lovely work!


The backing fabric represents Barb’s old stomping ground, New York City.

Barb, I'm humbled by your thoughtfulness. Thank you for your beautiful gift!